Thursday, December 02, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... sentenced to death by a Fianna Fail administration in Leinster House , in June 1940 , Tomas Og MacCurtain had his sentence commuted to one of penal servitude for life , in July 1940 .......

It has since been alleged that a sister of Cathal Brugha's widow , who was then the Reverend Mother of an Armagh Convent , had requested that her 'boss' , Cardinal MacRory , should 'speak to' Eamon de Valera about the case . This , if indeed it did happen , and the fact that Tomas Og's father had actually shouldered a gun alongside many members of the then Fianna Fail administration (before they went Free State , obviously) , saved his life . And that's the end of that 'tangent' on Tomas Og MacCurtain !

Tomas MacCurtain (Snr) , the Lord Mayor of Cork , was shot dead by a gang of masked men on 15th March 1920 ; his killers wore civilian clothes and all spoke with English accents - it later transpired that they were members of the RIC who had been recruited into that British police force in England : they were some of the 7,000 men thus recruited to tackle the IRA .

The quick expansion of the RIC meant that there was not enough of the bottle-green coloured uniforms to go around , so the new recruits were allowed to mix a khaki-coloured trouser or jacket to wear with whatever standard-issue piece of clothing they aready had . They were first seen in County Tipperary and were named , by the Irish , after a famous pack of hunting-hounds in that County - the Black and Tans !

These 'policemen/soldiers' were also issued with black belts and caps , and were a vicious lot .......


By Vincent Browne .

First published in 'Magill' magazine , April 1982 , pages 4 and 5 .
Re-published here in 8 parts .
(3 of 8).

" ..... on floor , on back , hands stretched backwards . Chair put on palms . (Garda A) sits on chair . Spits on face . Leering . Cried . Frightened . Don't know what they are going to do to me . Very tired , sore , ears ringing , bad headache , stomach sick , afraid of my life . (Garda A) produced black-jack , beaten by (Garda E) on biceps . Left on table . Black lathe 10 inches long , 1 inch in diameter , flexible , swish noise . "Own up , make statement ..." . Beaten above the knee ......."

Dr. Sean O'Cleirigh , an independent doctor , examined Nicky Kelly in Mountjoy Jail hours after this ordeal and gave the following evidence in court : he found extensive bruising on Kelly's outer arms from the shoulder to the elbow ; there were also bruises over the left shoulder blade , over the ribs , over the pubic bone and on his left hip and thigh . The doctor found extensive bruising over the mastoid bone of the left ear , which itself was also bruised . The ear area was also slightly bruised - all of these bruises were tender . He said Kelly was very apprehensive at the time .

The prison doctor then examined Nicky Kelly .......


By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(5 of 13).

The Free State 'Supreme Court' had previously dealth with a case in which a priest , Fr. Brendan Burns , admitted to holding 130 sticks of gelignite for the IRA -

- " It seems to me , " said Justice Finlay in that case in 1974 , " that the safe keeping of explosives for an organisation attempting to overthrow the state by violence is , according to that test , an offence of a political character . "

But prior to John Patrick Quinn's extradition , there had been other developments - Quinn is a fish dealer in Ballina where he lives with his wife and three children . In July 1983 , Detective Constable Kevin Tooher and Detective Inspector John Barnes , both from London , turned up in Ballina to interview John Patrick Quinn .

He finally flew to London on March 1st of this year (1985) , following the 'Supreme Court' decision , to face fraud charges relating to a sum of £600 ; he was interviewed by police on his arrival and thereafter transferred to Wormwood Scrubbs Prison .

Quinn was classified a ' High Security Category 'A' prisoner' and spent twenty-three hours a day in solitary confinement .......